Updated July 25, 2020

Who Is at Fault for Head-On Collisions in Indiana?

Head-on car accidents, also called frontal collisions, occur when the front of one vehicle crashes into either the front of another vehicle or a stationary object. They are some of the most dangerous types of car accidents and are more likely to lead to serious injuries or fatalities.

If you have been injured in a head-on collision, you may be entitled to compensation. When it comes to determining who is at fault for the accident, don’t rely on insurance agents; contact an attorney.

What Causes Head-On Car Accidents?

Head-on car accidents are often caused by driver error. These actions, for example, could lead to a head-on collision:

Distracted Driving

Using a cell phone, talking to other passengers, eating, or personal grooming can distract a driver for a couple of seconds—long enough to steer into oncoming traffic.

Impaired Driving

Alcohol and drugs negatively affect a driver’s reflexes and judgment.

Unsafe Passing

On two-lane roads, especially in rural areas, passing a slow vehicle is common. However, if passing drivers don’t see an oncoming car or misjudge how much time and space is available, they could crash.

Illegal Maneuvers

Illegal left turns or U-turns could lead to a head-on collision.

Wrong-Way Driving

Confused drivers heading the wrong way on a highway ramp or one-way street risk driving straight into oncoming traffic.

Drowsy Driving

Tired drivers have difficulty focusing and can drift into the wrong lane. Falling asleep at the wheel is even more dangerous.

Road Conditions

Road conditions can also contribute to a head-on crash. Rain or snow could cause cars to hydroplane into the opposite lane, and debris or potholes in the road might make a driver swerve.

How Common Are Frontal Collisions?

Although frontal collisions make up only a small percentage of car accidents, they account for a disproportionately large share of fatalities.

In 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, head-on collisions were responsible for 10.8% of car accident fatalities in the United States while only accounting for 2.5% of total collisions.

These statistics highlight how dangerous head-on collisions are to drivers and passengers.

What Are Frontal Collision Injuries?

Head-on collisions often cause catastrophic injuries. Some of the injuries drivers and passengers could sustain include the following:

  • Lacerations and heavy blood loss
  • Broken bones and fractures, especially to the skull, jaw, and ribs
  • Severe chest trauma
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Neck injuries, including whiplash or nerve damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal injuries leading to herniated disks or paralysis

Many injuries sustained in frontal collisions can lead to fatalities.

What Damages Are Available for Head-On Collisions?

Victims of head-on collisions may be able to seek compensation. In general, there are two types of damages: special damages and general damages. Special damages cover monetary losses that have a measurable dollar amount, and general damages are intangible, non-monetary losses without an exact dollar amount.

The following special damages may be available for head-on collisions in Indiana:

  • Medical expenses (ambulance bills, ER treatments, prescription medications, physical therapy, medical supplies, etc.)
  • Ongoing care and treatment costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Vehicle repairs

These general damages may be available to frontal crash victims:

Damages, especially non-economic damages, can be difficult to calculate. An experienced auto accident attorney can help you determine what compensation you deserve.

Who Is at Fault for Head-On Collisions?

Often, in head-on collisions, the person who was driving on the wrong side of the road is to blame. However, when other factors come into play, the at-fault driver’s liability could lessen.

There are several scenarios that could complicate liability. For example, if the road had no central markings, it may be unclear as to who was on the wrong side of the road. Additionally, if drivers are forced to swerve out of their lane because another vehicle turned without warning, someone else could be considered responsible.

How to Show Negligence

Fault in frontal crashes depends on negligence. In Indiana, you need to prove the following items to show negligence:

  • Duty of care: The driver owes other drivers the legal duty to drive safely and obey all traffic laws.
  • Breach of care: The driver acted or failed to act in a way that breached that duty of care.
  • Causation: The driver caused you injuries through that breach of care.
  • Damages: Your injuries resulted in compensable damages.

It’s up to you to prove that the other driver caused the crash and that the crash was responsible for your injuries.

Evidence Is Key

Evidence is a crucial part of determining liability. Road marks and vehicle positions paint a picture of the accident scene. Witness accounts help build that picture, too.

Proof could take several forms:

  • Police reports
  • Medical records
  • Photographs of the scene or your injuries
  • Videos
  • Torn or bloodied clothing
  • Witness statements
  • Skid marks
  • Property damage

Don’t rely on insurance companies to determine fault. An attorney can collect and analyze evidence to provide a clear picture of what happened and who was responsible.

Why Do I Need an Attorney After a Frontal Collision?

It may seem like car insurance agents will take care of everything after a head-on crash, but it’s important to remember that insurance companies are just that—companies. They are not your personal advocate.

Experienced car accident attorneys, on the other hand, are advocates for their clients and will act on their behalf. Before signing any settlements or speaking with the other driver’s insurance company, frontal collision victims should speak with a lawyer to make sure they are getting the compensation they deserve.

Contact an Automobile Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a head-on collision or other type of car accident, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis car accident lawyers of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you and your family fight for compensation. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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